SEC Schedule Ranking: #4 Kentucky Wildcats

Kentucky Wildcats - UKYear two in Lexington was a little eye-opening for head coach Mark Stoops who had a one loss football team in mid October which is rare in the Bluegrass State these days but down the stretch, the Wildcats just couldn’t get it together and finished the season on a 6-game losing streak to end the year 5-7. Kentucky has recruited very well and has some nice players around the roster and the common phrase regarding the Wildcats in 2014 was that ‘they are a year away’. Well a year has come and gone and the Kentucky Wildcats are looking to become bowl eligible again for the first time since 2010.

Kentucky is the only team in the league who plays three conference opponents in the month of September and by comparison none will be a walk in the park. The Wildcats open the season at home against the UL-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns out of the Sun Belt Conference and the Cajuns have won nine games a year under fifth year head coach Mark Hudspeth like clockwork. Week two takes the Wildcats on the road to South Carolina to take on the Gamecocks in Williams-Brice Stadium, a place Kentucky

Kentucky QB Patrick Towles
Kentucky QB Patrick Towles

hasn’t won a game in 16 years. Kentucky finishes the month of September with a two game home stand against the Florida Gators and the Missouri Tigers. Kentucky hasn’t beaten Florida in almost three decades and after reviewing past Kentucky schedules, it appears that the Wildcats have never beaten Missouri.

October starts with a non-conference home game against FCS opponent Eastern Kentucky who was eliminated from the FCS postseason tournament with a record of 9-4. Kentucky has a bye week on October 10th before a Thursday night date with the Auburn Tigers in Lexington. The Wildcats hit the road the following week to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Last season the Wildcats had the Bulldogs on the ropes in Lexington before a late kickoff return for a touchdown put the nail in the coffin. Halloween night welcomes the Wildcats back home to take on the Tennessee Volunteers for the annual Battle for the Barrel game which surprisingly will have been played 111 times when these two take the field this Fall.

Kentucky will play their final two conference games on the road in back-to-back weeks to open the month of November. First up will be the Georgia Bulldogs in Athens in Sanford Stadium, a team that Kentucky has allowed to score 122 points in the last two seasons. The last conference game is against the Vanderbilt Commodores who believe it or not has beaten Kentucky in three of the last four seasons. On November 21st, Kentucky will welcome first year FBS team the North Carolina-Charlotte 49ers to Lexington. The 49ers are brand new members of Conference USA but only went 5-6 in the final season in the FCS ranks. The final Saturday of the regular season brings the hated in-state rival Louisville Cardinals to town. Louisville surprised a lot of people with their 9-win season in 2014 but they didn’t sneak up on Kentucky who gave them all they wanted in a 44-40 loss in Louisville.

Kentucky will be a better football team in 2015 than they were in 2014 but with nine bowl teams from last season on the schedule this year may stunt their growth a little bit. Last season Kentucky was able to hang around in some games but just couldn’t get over the hump. The goal is bowl eligibility but the path there will be very tough.

University of Kentukcy - Lexington, Kentucky
University of Kentukcy – Lexington, Kentucky

Kentucky 2015 Schedule

Sept 5th          v. UL-Lafayette
Sept 12th        at South Carolina
Sept 19th        v. Florida
Sept 25th        v. Missouri
Oct 3rd            v. Eastern Kentucky
Oct 10th          BYE WEEK
Oct 15th          v. Auburn (Thursday)
Oct 24th          at Mississippi State
Oct 31st           v. Tennessee
Nov 7th            at Georgia
Nov 14th          at Vanderbilt
Nov 21st          v. UNC-Charlotte
Nov 28th          v. Louisville

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